Team Canada - 2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England

Summer McIntosh Wins gold, Canada Adds Relay Bronze to Open Commonwealth Games

Recently crowned double world champion Summer McIntosh won the gold medal in the women’s 400-m individual medley on Friday to open the swimming competition at the Commonwealth Games.

Canada won a second medal Friday with a bronze in the 4x100-m mixed freestyle relay.

The 15-year-old McIntosh broke the Canadian record, world junior record, Commonwealth record and Games record clocking 4:29.01 in a decisive win. Kiah Melverton of Australia was second in 4:36.78 and Katie Shanahan of Scotland third in 4:39.37.

‘’Overall, I’m happy with how I swam the race and how I felt with it,’’ said McIntosh, based at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre-Ontario. ‘’Since the worlds I’ve worked on ways on how I could improve the race and I know there’s still room to get better.’’

Even after her remarkable performances last month at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, McIntosh wasn’t resting on her laurels for Birmingham 2022.

‘’I got a buzz from the crowd, seeing all the people out there and knowing my parents were there,’’ she said. ‘’It gave me a lot of excitement for the race.’’

Ella Jansen of Etobicoke Swim Club/Burlington, Ont., was fifth in a personal best 4:40.17 and Tessa Cieplucha of Georgetown, Ont., eighth in 4:42.27.

‘’The goal today was just to make the final,’’ said Jansen, 16. ‘’I wanted the time to be under 4:40 so there’s still a lot of room to improve.’’

‘’It could have been better, but it was still exciting to be three Canadians in the final,’’ added Cieplucha. ‘’It doesn’t happen very often.’’

In the mixed relay, Australia won the gold medal in a Games record 3:21.18, England was second in 3:22.45 and the Canadians third in 3:24.86 with Torontonians Javier Acevedo and Joshua Liendo of HPC-Ontario, Rebecca Smith of University of Calgary/Red Deer, Alta., and Maggie Mac Neil of HPC-Ontario/London, Ont.

‘’It was a tough race,’’ said Liendo. ‘’But we fought hard and it was really exciting to be a part of. It was everybody’s second swim of the night and I thought we did great.’’

With just a few minutes to prepare after their 100-m butterfly semifinal to prepare for the race, Smith and Mac Neil warmed down in the adjacent diving tank between races.

‘’Maggie and I only had a 10–15 minute gap between our 100 fly semi and relay so there was a lot adrenaline going,’’ said Smith. ‘’We got the job done and got a medal for Canada.’’

In the morning prelims, the swimmers for Canada were Ruslan Gaziev of Markham, Ont., Stephen Calkins of University of Calgary, Jansen and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que. They will also each receive a medal.

The other Canadian finalists all placed seventh: Katrina Bellio of Etobicoke Swim Club/Mississauga, Ont., in the women’s 200-m freestyle in 2:00.05, Katrina Roxon of Aqua Aces/Kippens, N.L., in the women’s Para S9 100-m freestyle in 1:07.26 and James Dergousoff of Rouge et Or/Christina Lake, B.C. in the men’s 200-m breaststroke in 2:13.85

‘’I got as close as I could to my best time,’’ said Bellio, 17, an Olympian and worlds team member swimming in her first international final. ‘’I was faster in the morning, and I think that’s just a good learning experience that I need to manage better next time.’’

Roxon, a four-time Paralympian, is also competing at her fourth Commonwealth Games.

‘’It’s not what I wanted,’’ said Roxon. ‘’But I won’t stress over it. I’m having lots of fun and it’s another racing opportunity which have been sparse over the last two years.’’

Dergousoff was blown away by the intensity of his final, in which world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook overtook James Wilby of England on the final lap to win, while Scotland’s Ross Murdoch grabbed bronze for a second “home nations” medal.

‘’That was the coolest thing I’ve done to date,’’ said Dergousoff. ‘’It was hard to keep my composure. Racing in an environment like that is overwhelming and I was pleased with how I came back strong after a disappointing morning swim.’’

In the semifinals, three Canadians advanced to the final eight in the women’s 100-m butterfly. Mac Neil, the Olympic champion, was second in the semis in 57.72, Savard was fifth in 58.57 and Smith sixth in 58.59.

Liendo qualified fourth for the final in the men’s 50-m butterfly tying with Jacob Peters of England at 23.51, a personal best for the Canadian. England-born Finlay Knox Okotoks, Alta., ranked 13th in 23.77, his second PB of the day.

‘’I’m still working on this event,’’ said Liendo, a triple medallist in Budapest. ‘’It’s more recent for me but I still want to do well in the final and maybe get in the top-three.’’

It was a strong start to the Games for Knox who specializes in the individual medley.

‘’It sets me up well for the rest of the week,’’ said Knox. ‘’I wanted to go under 24 into the 23.7 range. Being able to swim the semifinal and move up three places in this event, I’m super happy with that.’’

Two Canadians missed a berth in the final by one spot.

U.S. based Sophie Angus ranked ninth in the women’s 50-m breaststroke semis missing the final by 0.02 in 31.45. Acevedo was ninth in the men’s 100-m backstroke semi in 54.81. just 0.03 short of the final.

‘’It’s about where I was at trials, so I wanted to be quicker,’’ said Angus. ‘’It’s my first night swim at a big meet like this so it’s a huge experience.’’

Competition continues Saturday. Full results are available at https://results.birmingham2022.com/

CBC Sports will provide comprehensive broadcast and streaming coverage of the 12-day multi-sport event, including 10 hours of broadcast coverage as part of CBC Sports weekend programming on CBC TV hosted by Scott Russell and Andi Petrillo, six daily streaming feeds of the competitions available on CBC Gemcbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, and up-to-the-minute news across CBC Sports digital and social media platforms.